Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 12:01 UK

Bus maker may cut half its staff

Bus stop
Staff at the bus company have been told their jobs are at risk

Bus manufacturer Optare said it could cut up to half of its full-time jobs from a plant in Lancashire because of a fall in orders.

The company, which employs 320 full-time workers in Blackburn, said it had already released all temporary workers it recruited at the peak of production.

Orders for double-decker vehicles have fallen meaning it cannot sustain the present level of staff, said Optare.

A 90-day consultation has started with all staff told their jobs are at risk.

John Fickling, Optare chairman, said the bus company was committed to the double-deck market.

"We are taking appropriate action to mitigate the impact of the current reduced demand for these vehicles so that our business is in a healthy position to maximise opportunities as the market improves," said Mr Fickling.

The company said the Leeds site, where the majority of the group's single-deck products were made, would remain unaffected at this stage.

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